Schizophrenia Recovery Strategies: Giving Thanks

  • It seems counter-intuitive to give thanks when you have schizophrenia. Yet focusing on the positive lightens your mood and could possibly ease the pain in your body too.


    In studies, people who wrote a daily recounting of things they were grateful for had lower levels of depression and stress. Weekly grateful journal keepers exercised more and felt physically better. 


    Research with those who were in a twenty-one-day study showed they had more positive moods and better sleep as well they were more optimistic about life and felt a greater connection to others.


    Giving thanks and becoming resilient in the face of a setback go hand-in-hand as coping strategies.  Not everyone, however, will bounce back quickly. Yet always be hopeful, because things can change for the better at any point in a person's recovery.

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    Find things to be thankful about in your life by creating what I call a "power list": itemize the events in your life that you're proud of. Having an illness doesn't change these achievements; they're still yours to claim, and they're still real and can't be taken from you.


    A corollary is that you can also list everything you like about yourself, as hard as this might be to do. Giving thanks needs to be done every day or as often as you possibly can.


    I, for one, am newly grateful that I chose to become a librarian, even as hard as it is; and this is because the resume I created for a guy enabled him to get a high-level supervisor position.


    As we near Thanksgiving, I throw down a challenge for readers: to make a list of the people in your life who have helped you, or whose involvement with you is treasured. Then telephone each person to thank him or her. Facebook doesn't count, nor does e-mail.


    I'll end here by stating that putting others on a pedestal almost always backfires because they can't live up to your expectations. Having empathy can make you grateful for the little things a person does, like baking cupcakes when ordinarily he can't get out of bed.  The little things count, too.


    I thank all of you for reading my news articles, for posting comments when you're able to, and for daring to have the courage to continue despite how hard it is living with schizophrenia.


    So do it: when you have someone in your corner, when another person has your back, thank him or her. 

Published On: November 18, 2014